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PG&E Adds Four Phoenix Electric SUTs to Fleet

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has added four Phoenix Motorcars all-electric sport utility trucks (SUTs) (earlier post) to its clean fuel fleet.

PG&E will test the Phoenix Motorcars SUTs in its daily operations across its 70,000 square mile service area in central and northern California.

By adding the Phoenix Motorcars SUTs to our leading clean fuel fleet, we are taking an important step in developing a proven and necessary electric vehicle market. Electric vehicles provide a practical solution to help us reduce our dependency on petroleum-based fuels, keep California's air clean, and meet the challenges associated with climate change.

—Bob Howard, PG&E vice president of gas transmission and distribution

The SUT has a driving range of 130 miles, can be recharged in 10 minutes and easily cruises at freeway speeds while carrying five passengers and a full payload. It is powered by UQM Technologies’ propulsion system, utilizes Boshart Engineering homologation process and is equipped with a 35 kWh Altairnano NanoSafe lithium-ion battery pack.



PG&E must be rubbing their hands in anticipation of BEVs and PHEVs


I feel the need to state their claims for them because they do such a poor job of self promotion nowdays:

1) Top speed 95mph
2) Range of 135 miles-all electric
3) Recharge time-10 minutes w/440 electric
4) Battery life-12 years. Actually 15000 inhouse labtest cycles with 85% capacity left at the end.

I really believe this battery is IT. They are targeting the fleet market which is 200,000 vehicles in CA. The utilities have every reason in the world to promote PHEV's & EV's.

John Baldwin

Does anyone know the well to wheel CO2 performance for these vehicles compared to the ones they are replacing?

I assume that the marginal fuel for making the extra electricity in California is coal and gas as there is not a surplus of renewable/nuclear.

Without these figures, not clear if this is good or bad news for the planet. My thinking is that is is probably very bad!


John Baldwin,
You seriously need to get a clue.


John Baldwin, I agree with Rick, you do need to read up on BEV's.


I agree with the two above me. You seriously need to do some research into BEVs.

Perhaps PGE will be able to give us some unbiased and real world performance numbers regarding the altair battery pack. If things go well, the altair pack could be an extremely disruptive technology (a good thing).

Even at a rediculous price such as $50,000 (I highly doubt it would be this high in mass production, for that price I have to think the cells are hand assembled) the batterys can effectively be financed over their life and still provide substantial savings over gasoline ICE fleet vehicles. A brief cost analysis follows (optimized for the altair's capacity, but run with me...):

Gasoline ICE:
-Daily mileage: 130
-Days: 365
-Years: 15
-Miles traveled: 711,750
-MPG: 15
-Gallons of fule used: 47,450
-Cost: $142,350

Phoenix BEV:
-Daily mileage: 130
-Days: 365
-Years: 15
-Miles traveled: 711,750
-Carges cycles: 5475
-Kw/H used: 191,625
-Cost: $19,162

Add the battery pack in at 50k and you are still looking at $70,000+ in savings. Let's not forget all the OTHER maintenence that an ICE needs and a BEV can forgoe. Besides the savings, the BEV would be better for the environment (even if we produce coal to produce the energy) and energy security (along with economic stability).


hmm...this is great news, but:
1 - they promised a 250-mile range. this is currently 100 miles less
2 - they talked of 5-minute recharge times. not that it makes much difference, but i'm curious about the discrepancy.
otherwise, really great news.


The 250 mile pack is a different battery. A 70kw I believe and not in production yet.

Battery price? The entire truck sells for $45000.

The battery itself, if it gets 15,000 cycles is an investment in itself. Think stationary storage for PV, industrial storage, etc, etc.

If the claims are true, I agree, this is disruptive technology.



This is true, but there is a catch. The vehicle sells for $45,000, but it costs closer to $150,000 to manufacture. Phoenix makes money by claiming the $200,000-$250,000 credit/rebate from California's ZEV program.

John Baldwin

Rick, Richard,

Figures I have seen in UK show that using electric vehicles requires HIGHER CO2 on a well to wheel because of extra coal/gas burned....if you can show me evidence that this is not the case, I'm interested...


JB: there is a white paper on the Tesla site that you may find interesting.

they've cherry picked a few numbers but remains of interest even so.


I'll do my best here....

Well to wheel comparison:

Extraction of NG: wash (see below)
Transport of NG: wash (see below)
Combustion of NG: 60%
Transfer of electricity: 92%
Charging: 90%
Discharge: 90%
Total efficiency: 44%

Gasoline ICE:
Extraction of Petrol: wash (for simplicity assumed to be the same as NG)
Transport of NG: wash (for simplicity, too many variable to consider here. Crude transported by pipe or tanker, though I will note NG pipeline transport is less efficient than crude pipeline transport.)
Combustion in ICE: 25% (high side)
Overall efficiency: 25%

So I don't get slammed, I'll note that both overall efficiencies are grossly high due to the fact that I did not take into account extraction or transport losses. Regardless, the BEV maintains a sizable advantage. Let's not forget certain emissions are much easier to manage at a stationary plant (NOx, PM, CO, others) than on serveral million moving vehicles.

John Baldwin

I just wanted to see figures.

For diesel, well to wheel is x g of CO2 per km

For electric (made from gas/coal), well to wheel is y g of CO2 per km

Its a simple question I am asking. I just want a fair and honest response. It shouldn't be rocket science.

John Baldwin

This is closest I have seen, does not rate electric vehicles at all!


Ok John here you go:

electric car: 46g/km and up. (electricity from NG)
ICE car: 130g/km (prius) and way up.
Diesel 152g/km (jetta) and up.


Ok John here you go:
electric car: 46g/km and up. (electricity from NG)
ICE car: 130g/km (prius) and way up.

Since when does grid electricity come solely from NG?

From the grid, the Tesla puts out 80 g/km (and keep in mind their fuel economy has yet to be tested by the EPA). The Prius puts out 116 g/km. So, unsurprisingly, the EV Advocate fudges the EV numbers down and the gasser numbers up.

Now for NOx --

Prius - 0.01 g/km
Tesla - 0.12 g/km

(choke! cough! wheeze!)

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